Know Your Wine: The Definitive Guide To Classify Wine

The classification of the types of wine is one of the aspects that offer the most significant divergences to knowing the world of wine. That ultimately only confuses the consumer, who does not go beyond red, white, rosé, and sparkling.

According to legislative and technical criteria, the origin of this confusion usually lies in the different classification sources, especially when it comes to exceptional wines.

Currently, when buying wine, any consumer can choose from an impressive range of wines almost anywhere on the planet, faced with the consumer-facing problem of choice, in which labels often do not help much as they contain few description relatives.

The knowledge of the different classifications of types of wine can also facilitate this process of choice since it will allow us to group the wines into a few categories, which will be the first essential selection variable, namely: do I buy a red or a white? Dry or sweet wine? Sparkling or still?

White Wines

Light and dry– Young and acidic wines, without body, rarely aged in oak barrels, are not usually suitable for ageing.

Dry and spacious– They have more bodies and can age in many cases in barrels or bottles. Although technically dry, they can have a certain sweetness.

Dry and concentrated– More complex and with more body, they improve if they are aged in barrels and bottles. This group includes the best non-special white wines.

Aromatics– They are those from certain varieties that stand out for their aroma, being dry or semi-dry.

Semi-dry– Without being sweet, they are bottled before all the sugar has been transformed into alcohol.

Sweets and liquor– Intensely concentrated, full-bodied, and complex.

Red And Rosé Wines

Rosés– Young wines rarely age well and are distinguished by their greater or lesser sweetness. Only if we look at the production process, we could determine rosés and clarets.

Light, fruity, not aged– Almost all reds have a dry taste, but there are many differences between them, based on their density and astringency. This first group is identified with young wines. Usually, with little body, light, and low tannin, little astringent is to say.

Medium-bodied– The largest category of reds. It contains many medium-quality wines and some of the excellent quality that can even be stored.

Concentrated, intense– It groups tannic wines with an intense aroma, generally very fruity, and tends to age well.

Guarding– They are usually wines from classic regions or from the best vintages from the lesser-known areas that have been aged in the bottle. They have a high density and body, and their flavour improves with time before declining.

Specials– They are the ones who break the rule, as mentioned earlier, in the sense that reds are dry. They are not frequent and can be liquorous, sweet (there are more and more), etc.

Sparkling wines Light fruity– There are many differences between sparkling wines in terms of quality and style. It is the model of the Spanish Cava and the Italian Prosseco.

Fine, intense– It is the model of French Champagne that is generally very attractive to the public.

Light and aromatic– Less known and very sweet, like the Italian muscat.

Sweet And Unique Wines

Generous– They have alcohol in common, which is called header and ageing in wood, which gives them a strong, dense, complex character. Good examples in Spain would be the wine called Manzanilla or the Fino de Jerez.

Partial fermentation– These wines are rare in Spain and whose clearest example is Port. An incomplete fermentation is carried out, but the degree is increased with the subsequent addition of wine alcohol.

Mistelas– Although they are called wine, they are not because fermentation is not carried out, but they are a mixture of must with alcohol. The advantage of this method is that it respects the fruit (primary) characters to the maximum and can even age. The best-known example is muscat, so they are almost always missiles for sweet muscat wines.

Late harvest– They are sweet because the harvest is delayed as much as possible so that the grape has a high concentration of sugar due to overripeness so that it cannot ferment completely. Therefore, the wine retains part of the sugar.

Raisined and toasted– The group includes, for example, the famous Pedro Ximénez. After the harvest, the grapes are dehydrated (in the sun or very dry and hot spaces, depending on whether we are talking about raisins or toasted, respectively) until water loss increases the concentration of sugar (raisins), making fermentation very difficult. So that they require the addition of wine alcohol, other similar examples, but that receive different names are the French Muscats or the Italian Liquors.

It is also important that you buy the wines from wineries whom you can trust when it comes to quality and variety; one such example is Hourlier Wines. But you should do your research, first decide the kind you like and then search for the place that can provide the quality you want.

Important Aspects

To better understand the previous groups, it is essential to understand three aspects of wine classification:

Sugar- Depending on the amount of sugar, they are classified into wines with practically no sugar called ‘dry’ (less than 5 g of sugar per litre). Sweeter wines contain more sugar ordered from least to most excellent sweetness in doomed, semi-dry, and sweet (ranging from 5 to 100 g of sugar per litre, or even more).

Colour- According to their production method and colour, they are classified in the perhaps most popular way among white grape whites or red grape whites, rosés (red grape partially fermented in contact with the skin), clarets (a mixture of white and red grapes fermented entirely in connection with the skin) or reds (red grapes).

Quality- According to their quality and gastronomic application, one can speak of ‘table wines’ (ordinary), fine (made looking for a minimum of quality), and unique, defined by having particular composition or production characteristics.


Wine is a prominent part of our parties, outdoor brunches, lunches or a romantic dinner with your partner. Selecting the right kind of wine is the key. Wine is one such drink that has a lot to offer. There are many types of wine, depending on the grape with which it is made and its treatment.

Wine has a rich history, and a good wine can complete your meal.  A perfect glass of wine after a long day at work or just for some me-time or spending quality time with your partner is just all one wants. Use this guide to learn more about your favourite drink and select the best one for you.


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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